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The Juan Maclean The Future Will Come Review

Album. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

It may start out as an unashamed homage, but it gradually asserts its own character.

Colin Buttimer 2009

The Future Will Come. Initially, the title rings with confidence, but moments later doubt sets in. What kind of future are they talking about? Juan MacLean's answer can be found in the music. If that sounds rather abstract, it isn't really. This particular combination of male and female vocals paired with chunky synthetic beats and textures adds up to a clear yet creative homage to Dare-era Human League.

Indeed, when MacLean sings for the first time, two thirds way through opener The Simple Life, not only does he quote the melody from the League's mega-hit, Don't You Want Me, but he also sounds remarkably similar to their lead singer Phil Oakey. Later, on No Time, he and guest singer Nancy Whang sing different words to the tune of Being Boiled.

Fear not though, The Future Will Come is no mere pastiche, nor does it continue is the same vein as the opener. The vocals on the title track and elsewhere are more strident and, if anything partially recall Matthew Dear. The music itself is bolder and more subtle than groups such as the League, perhaps inevitably given the almost three decades of technological and production development.

When the house chords punch in on One Day it's difficult not to punch the air and grin, particularly when they’re followed by Whang’s sing-song melody. Tunes are central to this endeavour, most of the ten songs make for catchy pop.

The busy, shuffle percussion and syndrums of Tonight clearly reference the late 70s/early 80s and bring to mind another, not entirely dissimilar project, last year's critically adored Hercules and Love Affair. The Future Will Come may start out as an unashamed homage, but it gradually asserts its own character.

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